California Arrest Record Sealing

In California, a person who is arrested for an offense but not convicted may be eligible to apply for an arrest record sealing. While arrests are not convictions, they can appear on some background checks, possibly deterring job offers. Once a record is sealed, employers and landlords are unable to discriminate against the former offender for employment or housing opportunities. To be eligible for record sealing, proof of "factual innocence" must be provided. Sealing an arrest record is unique in that, unlike most criminal proceedings, the defendant has the burden of proof and as such must convince the court that there was no reasonable basis to believe that the offense with which he or she was charged was actually committed. The petition is filed with the arresting agency that initially oversaw the arrest. If the arresting agency fails to grant or deny a request for sealing within 60 days of filing the petition, then the request may be taken to the court that has jurisdiction over the area where the arrest occurred. Depending on the court, it may take four to six months before a decision is reached. There is no cost to file for an arrest record sealing. Sealing an arrest record does not, however, automatically remove mugshots from public databases. Those who seal their records should also look into publicly removing mugshots as to avoid the embarrassment of having those photos on the web. Regardless of whether or not a former offender decides to have mugshots removed from public view, his or her record sealing will remove the arrest and offense from their criminal record, making it as though the offense never occurred. If your crime was committed in San Diego County, you can find expungement information specific to San Diego County expungesandiego.com.

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